Most of us trace our understanding of school shootings back to Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, in 1998. I remember being a college freshman, watching the news in the cafeteria, having not fathomed that people would do a thing like that. It sparked a nationwide conversation on guns and the way kids treat each other in schools, which has followed a useless arc of political digestion each time it has happened since, so many times that I can’t count, each time more and more tragic.
What many might not know is that one of the first tragic school shootings of this kind occurred much earlier, in 1966, in the northern Minnesota city of Grand Rapids on the far western Mesabi Iron Range. Today, a fundraising project is underway to bring the surviving victim of that shooting back to town to speak to kids about the impact of bullying and violence in schools. Additional funds will be used to build a memorial for the school official who was killed while trying to talk to the shooter.
You can find out more about the project and how to help here. Organizers describe the event this way:
On October 5, 1966 our community of Grand Rapids, Minnesota, experienced one of the first school shootings in the nation. The shooting resulted in severe injury to Kevin Roth and ultimately the death of Mr. Forrest Willey.
The funds that are being raised is to help bring Kevin Roth to Grand Rapids, and a memorial for Mr. Forrest L. Willey. The week of October 14th Kevin Roth plans to be in the Grand Rapids area to talk to students regarding Bullying. The memorial will be placed at the new Grand Rapids Middle School (Robert J Elkington Middle School).
We appreciate all your support.